Our thought for the day comes from Lady Macbeth:
Here's the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, Oh, Oh!
In Saudi Arabia people die in grisly ways every day of the week, but, as I said on Wednesday's John Oakley Show, a chap such as Jamal Khashoggi, a deep-cover spook and former confidant of the highly sinister Prince Turki, does not get whacked except on orders from the very highest in the land. By "very highest", see the two fellows at right. So Friday's formal Saudi announcement that yes, unfortunately Mr Khashoggi was indeed questioned to death in the Istanbul consulate but only by minions gone rogue was inherently risible. Nobody goes rogue in Saudi except for occasional senior princes who think they should have been king.
Four members of the Khashoggi hit squad accompanied Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan on his visit to London in March for a round of meetings with the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Theresa May. But we're expected to believe that MbS's entourage took it upon themselves to fly to Istanbul and chop this guy up. The butler did it - and, to modify the Nazis, they were only not obeying orders. So nothing to worry about.
~Dennis Miller and I have added a couple of extra dates to our first tour together in Pennsylvania and western New York: We'll now be in Reading, Syracuse, Rochester and Wilkes-Barre - and don't forget, if you're a member of The Mark Steyn Club, you can book your seats in the special pre-sale. Dennis joined Mike Keller on WEEU's morning show this week to discuss the tour, and also his antipathy, in his "Saturday Night Live" days, to doing sketches:
I tried to get out of that, every week. I thought of myself as the DH in the American League. I said, stay out these sketches because you're always going to be the fourth-most effective guy in the sketch.
Hmm. For my part, I don't think I've ever placed higher than the seventh-most effective guy in the sketch. Click below to listen:
~I first began writing about Elizabeth Warren's Fauxcahontas routine six years ago (as you can read in The [Un]documented Mark Steyn). This week it all sort of backfired on her with the results of her DNA test. Which obliges me, I feel, to issue a correction. In 2012 I wrote:
To the casual observer, Mrs Warren, now the Democrats' Senate candidate, might seem a 100 per cent woman of non-color.
My mistake. As we now know, Mrs Warren is, in fact, a 1,023 one-thousand-and-twenty-fourths woman of non-color - or 99.9 per cent. And that nought-point-one per cent is all she needs:
The Massachusetts Democrat is Indian in the sense of checking the 'Are you Native American?' box on the Association of American Law Schools form, which Elizabeth Warren did for much of her adult life... The former Obama special adviser to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Panel now says that 'I listed myself in the directory in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group, something that might happen with people who are like I am.'
"People who are like I am" - that's to say, 1,023 one-thousand-and-twenty-fourths white. Gee, why isn't there a club for that at Harvard Law School?
Oh, I see I need to do one more correction:
Only in America does the nation's most prestigious law school hire a 100 per cent white female as its first 'woman of color' on the basis that she once mailed in the Duke of Windsor's favorite crab dish to a tribal cookbook. If the House of Windsor is now one of the five tribes, all America has to do is restore the monarchy, and the Queen will be your first 'woman of color' in the Oval Office.
Again, that should be 99.9 per cent white female.
Before he ascended to the throne, the Duke inspired a hit song of reflected celebrity: 'I Danced with a Man Who Danced with a Girl Who Danced with the Prince of Wales.' That seems to be how Harvard Law's identity-group quota-filling works. I'm confident that, if this issue re-emerges during Elizabeth Warren's campaign to be the first Native-American president, she'll be able to prove she danced with a man who danced with a girl who danced with someone who once changed planes at a municipal airport accidentally built on a Cherokee burial ground.
~A little over - gulp - twenty years ago, I got a call from Conrad Black and then from Ken Whyte and, without giving much thought to the matter, agreed to write for their new Canadian newspaper. The National Post hit newsstands at the end of October 1998, and all next week SteynOnline will be marking the occasion with some favorite - or even favourite - pieces from my years with the paper. As I always say, it was the great journalistic adventure of my life. Conrad and Ken brought together a terrific team, from the deputy editor Martin Newland to star columnist Christie Blatchford to parliamentary wag Paul Wells. Conrad wound up (totally unjustly) in a prison in Florida, which is pretty grim, and Ken wound up as Senior Executive Vice-President (Digital Synergization) of something or other at Rogers, which sounds even grimmer, and the rest of us are scattered to the four winds. But for a brief time the Post was a shot in the arm for the moribund Canadian newspaper scene. Conrad's ownership improved not only his own papers but rivals such as The Globe And Mail, which was a better paper for having had to compete for the first time in years.
Ah, happy memories. The debut column I wrote for the Post's first week was about one of those long forgotten controversies which used to flair up during the Liberal Nineties, hang around the news pages for a while, but never really go anywhere. This one was about the Mounties pepper-spraying peaceful protesters at an international summit at the behest of the Prime Minister's office (a sort of less lethal version of the Saudi shtick). I played it mostly for laughs:
Don't get me wrong. Chrétien's Canada is not Pinochet's Chile. If it were, our economy would be in better shape. Besides, I'm sure our pepper spray isn't like Chile pepper spray.
Etc. I hadn't reread it since I wrote it, and I wouldn't have given it a thought were it not for the fact that my very first column for the paper wound up with a few thoughts on ...human rights commissions, and "the trouble with letting the state restrict free expression in the interests of nice cuddly causes". Plus ça change, and all that:
Canada's much-vaunted niceness is smug and suffocating, but it's our national characteristic. It's what all those National Lampoon non-jokes boil down to: 'How do you get 40 Canadians into a phone booth?' 'You say, "Pardon me, but would you please all go into the phone booth?"' Etc. The truth is it requires a vast panoply of restrictive legislation to shoehorn us in: Canada's 'niceness' has always been somewhat coercive. It's not just anti-totalitarian demonstrators being denied the right to protest, but also fellows like that Mayor of Fredericton, forced by New Brunswick's Human Rights Commission to proclaim officially the city's Gay Pride Week.
Canada's famous 'tolerance' has become progressively intolerant. It's no longer enough to be tolerant, to be blithely indifferent, warily accepting, detachedly libertarian about gays – as the Mayor and his electors were. For tolerance is, by definition, somewhat grudging. Instead, gays must be accorded official mandatory fulsome approval, no matter that enforcing Gay Pride means inflicting Straight Humiliation on a hapless mayor and displaying a cool contempt for his electorate. As the Queen put it a couple of Canada Days back, 'Let us celebrate the unique Canadian ability to turn diversity to the common good.' But the uniquely Canadian thing about 'diversity' is the ruthless uniformity with which it's applied.
Start as you mean to go on, I say. There's been a lot more of that in the last two decades. Join me for some twentieth-anniversary reminiscences starting on Monday.
~For our Massachusetts readers, next weekend - 3pm on Sunday October 28th - I'll be at the Boston Marriott in Newton to accept the Genesis Award from CJUI (Christians and Jews United for Israel). Aside from speaking, I'll also be signing copies of Lights Out - so it should be a fun afternoon, and if you're in the vicinity of Greater Boston we hope to see you there.
As for this weekend, I'll be back later with our Saturday movie date, followed by some more live music for our continuing Bobby Troup centenary celebrations. If you're not yet a member of The Mark Steyn Club, we'd love to have you. Alternatively, if you've a friend who'd appreciate the gift of Steyn, we've introduced a special Mark Steyn Club Gift Membership that lets you sign up a chum for the Club. You'll find more details here - and don't forget, over at the Steyn store, our Steynamite Specials on books and much more.